So what do I mean by interesting? I mean that sometimes the lesson is literally a Game Changer. Other times, I walk away thinking, that was cool, but I am not sure how to get that on my own. Those days are great in their own right because I get to feel a better ride than I might otherwise feel on my own. It's the Game Changers that I live for.
In the last couple of months, there have been a number of Game Changers or epiphanal rides. [And that's really a word - I looked it up. It means the state or quality of being like an epiphany.] The first real AHA! came when JL finally taught me how to get a walk that was on the bit. I squeezed Speedy forward, but I didn't let his nose pop up. I asked him to step forward and reach over his back. Oh, it was hard, and there was lots of ROCK THE REIN!!!!, but he and I both got it. It was an epiphany. He and I both felt it. Game Changer ...
Once we learned that, I was able to duplicate the feeling at the trot. That doesn't mean we're perfect, but he and I both know that he can lift himself into the trot nicely, and he no longer needs to claw his way there with his front legs. We're slowly putting the concept to use in the canter. I am still missing something, but we're almost there.
The next Game Changer came with JL's Crack the Nut visual. I know that just came this past weekend, but holy heck has that opened up my eyes! That simple concept is reconfiguring my upper body. We've worked on my seat and legs for quite a long time and hadn't really started on my upper body ... OH MY GOD! I just had ANOTHER epiphany. Man, JL is SMART! She told me last summer that first she would get my leg and seat right and then we'd start moving up my body. Holy crap! That's what she just did, and I only just this very instant realized it. I swear, I am about to cry. What an incredible compliment. That must mean my seat and leg have approached the realm of acceptable. Sniff.
I am truly sitting here with a stunned look on my face.
Okay ... getting over the shock of that particular epiphany, what I was about to say was that during the Crack the Nut explanation, JL added a second part to the visual that I couldn't absorb at that exact moment, but while riding on Thursday afternoon, BAM! I got it. She laughingly said, Stick 'em out! I'm sure the ladies out there, and probably the gents as well, know what she was referring to. I know it's not very classy, but ... she meant boobs. There, I said it! As a junior high girl who was hideously embarrassed to have boobs, the thought of sticking 'em out is a bit embarrassing. That's what hoochie mamas do, not college educated teachers! But there it is. Thursday's ride found me sticking 'em out and loving it.
Cracking a Nut refers to the back side, but sticking 'em out is what happens up front. A word of caution: if you are a rider who tends to arch her back, these two visuals might not work for you. As a rider with rounded shoulders, this is probably right up your alley.
Thursday afternoon was Speedy's turn for some work. I cracked a nut. I stuck 'em out and we had the best ride together that we've ever had. Don't get me wrong. He did a few naughty things like bolting when he heard the chicken in the grass, leaning on my rein, falling in, and kicking out a bit on the right lead canter, but I knew how to school him through every single naughty. And when I did, he just got better and better.
And that's how it's done!